WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gov. Butch Otter wants the state to take over more than 2 million acres of what he calls mostly dying trees in various parts of Idaho's national forests. Otter discussed the issue on Tuesday before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Otter explained that Idaho's big burn back in 1910 destroyed 20 million acres. He says lodge pole pines that grew on that burned acreage have reached their life expectancy, and are now over 100 years old. Otter said those factors are creating the conditions for bigger fires than what Idaho saw in 2012.
"We've got a massive die coming on in Idaho, without a bug touching it or without any disease, just from the lodgepole pine itself," Otter said.
According to Otter's proposal, the national forest land in question would be managed by a trust board focused on increasing revenue by the harvesting of those dying trees and improving fire management.